NOLANVILLE, TX — Something as easy as locking your car doors and making sure your garage is securely shut before turning in for the night can protect you from those with sticky fingers.
If you live in Bell County, chances are you or someone you know have been victimized by a car thief.
“We recently sent out a reminder to our citizens in Harker Heights that between the month of July and December of 2020, we had about 22 thefts of vehicles,” said Lawrence Stewart, the public information officer for the Harker Heights Police Department.
It’s a crime that doesn’t play favorites and spreads from one side of I-35 to the other, making multiple stops in between.
“Most of Bell County is a metropolitan area, so it blends all together, and so city limits don’t matter to [the criminals],” said Chief Gene Ellis of the Belton Police Department.
While the chances are never at zero, those in Nolanville can sleep better knowing police have identified suspects for most of its vehicle burglary cases on December 31, 2020.
“Everybody was charged with burglary of a motor vehicle. The driver, Chelsea Smith, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and evading in a motor vehicle for that night,” said Detective Zachary Oeller with the Nolanville Police Department.
Officials say 14 of their 19 ongoing investigations trace back to just four suspects. Those suspected were arrested in November 2020, then again when the same three suspects began a pursuit right before the new year.
It seems the four traveled a lot, as the arrests helped multiple other agencies with their cases.
“Throughout the investigation, they burglarized vehicles in Harker Heights,” Detective Oeller said. “They also burglarized vehicles in Copperas Cove. You know, I even heard as far as Sugarland, Texas.”
Although those criminals have been charged, officers know that keeping yourself and your possessions safe is as easy as making sure your cars and garages are locked up every night.
“Something as simple as checking to make sure your cars are locked and making sure everything is secure before going to bed at night,” Detecive Oeller said.
Nolanville detectives say those victim to a crime like those in Bell County should call their local department with a list of everything taken.